The Central African Republic has temporarily banned text messaging because authorities are concerned about the security "threat" they pose. According to Agence-France Presse, following another escalation of violence in the capital city of Bangui this week, text messages are considered a security threat as a call to strike was reportedly broadcast through mass text. Anyone attempting to send an SMS text message — including AFP journalists — reportedly receives a response in French that states: “SMS not allowed.”
The country’s telecommunications agency said that Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke made the decision to suspend text messaging. The conflict in CAR, a majority Christian country, began last year after Muslim rebels took control during a coup, although they lost power in January. African Union and French troops have so far failed to quell the violence, which some say is approaching the level of a genocide.
But text messaging isn’t the only thing governments have banned in times of conflict. All mass communications are in danger of being blocked when a regime is threatened. All in the name of keeping the peace.
China: Tiananmen Search Terms
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests in China; which the country is still trying to suppress even the memory of. No one knows how many people actually died when the army put down the protests — the figures range from several hundred to many thousands — and those trying to commemorate the anniversary have been met with silence, intimidation, and in some cases, pushing and shoving while trying to lay flowers.
According to BBC reports, foreign journalists were “ushered away” from the square in Beijing today, and Chinese authorities have detained lawyers, journalists, and activists in the weeks leading up to the anniversary. The International Business Times has rounded up search terms that China bans around the time of the anniversary each year. They include Tank Man (a reference to the iconic photograph), Crush, Mourn, One-party dictatorship, and When spring becomes summer. According to Time’s P. Nash Jenkins, the anonymous social-networking app Secret launched in China on Saturday, making it easier for people to commemorate the protests, and harder for authorities to crack down on them doing so.